Inequalities in aging and the implications for younger generations

Nov 07, 2013

As the over-65 population grows to about one in five Americans, it is important to recognize that older persons are not a homogeneous bloc of "seniors." A new report from the US2010 Project emphasizes that seniors are becoming increasingly diverse in terms of their schooling, employment status, income, gender, race/ethnicity, place of birth and age.

All of these factors affect older ' ability to provide a safety net to the younger generation, as well as their need to rely on the family safety net themselves.

"Diversity among the elderly is not simply variation—separate but equal—but rather variation that results in inequalities," said report co-author Judith Seltzer, director of the California Center for Population Research at UCLA and a professor of sociology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. "And these inequalities have implications for the social and well-being of each generation."

The longevity of today's offers greater opportunities for meaningful interactions with children and grandchildren. In recent years, as they have made significant gains in their own economic well-being, older adults' financial help and caregiving has been important in helping their adult children and grandchildren get launched and weather economic crises.

Yet the strength of these ties has been tested by changes in the structure and composition of families caused by high rates of cohabitation, child-bearing outside of marriage and divorce. And the rates of disruption are higher for poorer families, so older parents with the fewest resources to share are most likely to be called on for help.

Key points:

  • The is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. Hispanics are projected to make up 20 percent of those over the age of 65 in 2050.
  • Compared to younger adults, the elderly are less likely to be poor, but gender and race differences are great among the elderly. In old age, minority men are much more likely to be poor than white women.
  • Immigrants have fewer social and economic resources available in the United States than the native born. Hispanic report that many of their health and economic needs remain unmet even when they receive assistance from family members.
  • Even among those who are economically disadvantaged, however, grandparents are an important source of support for their grandchildren. Almost one-third of grandmothers who live with a grandchild bear primary responsibility for the child. This pattern is especially pronounced for African American grandmothers.

Explore further: Personalized advertising attracts more attention, makes the contents of ads easier to remember

More information: www.s4.brown.edu/us2010/Data/R… t/report11062013.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

More grandparents fill caregiver role

Sep 06, 2012

Grandparents, an increasingly important source of child care in the United States, vary greatly in the kind of care they provide, depending on their age, resources, and the needs of their children, research at the University ...

Gender disparity in China

Jun 03, 2013

Researchers from USC, Peking University, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and a team of international partner institutions released on May 30 the first major report from a massive survey of Chinese adults ...

Graying of rural America has policy implications

Jul 04, 2013

More than 16.5 percent of rural Americans are age 65 or older, a higher proportion than in other parts of the country, so any changes to government services will have a greater affect on people who live in rural areas, reported ...

Recommended for you

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Dec 18, 2014

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

Dec 18, 2014

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.